Публикувани: 14 декември
The release of Rome Total War 2 was one of the worst in gaming history (In my experience only Assassin's Creed Unitys launch was worse), creating a huge outrage even outside the Total War community (and also some pretty funny memes).
The questions is: Is it playable after more than a year? Yes it is. Is it as good as its predecessors? Sadly, no. And while I can recommend it to you, if you're looking for a good casual strategy game, its still a huge step backwards for the franchise, And like after playing Mass Effect 3, I am afraid of what the developers are doing to my beloved franchises next.
So while it has its good aspects, I will focus mainly on the flaws of this game in this review.
The Total War series is my favorite strategy franchise, and maybe my favorite game series in general. You've got a turn based campaign map where you capture and hold cities, build up diplomatic relationships with other nations, recruit armies and so on and so forth. When it comes to battle, the game changes from the campaign to a randomly created battlefield map, where you command your troops in real time. Total War connects the "just-one-more-turn" mentality from games like Civilization with intense real time battles like in World in Conflict for instance. This formula works every time, regardless of the given time period or setting. Creative Assembly added features until 2009s Empire Total War, and with Shogun 2 they've streamlined it back to bare bones to get rid of the problematic AI, which was all over the place in Empire and Napoleon.
Rome 2 promised us an overhaul of the traditional Total War concept while bringing back the diversity of factions (Shoguns Clans all had the same units due to the Japan setting) and adding new features. They have lied to us. I still remember the moment when my legions first encountered the Scythians and their mounted archers in Rome 1. What I'm trying to say is that you had to adapt your tactics to the foe you were fighting back in the day. Now, although the skins and names are different, every nation still seems to have nearly the same roster. Barbarian swordmasters really play like a legionary cohort, they even throw javelins like them.
The biggest two problems I have with Rome 2 is that its a) even more streamlined than Shogun 2 (they've even cut out building and upgrading streets. What the ♥♥♥♥, so you're telling me that some barbarians could march as fast through their ♥♥♥♥hole woods as the mighty legions of rome on their high-tech streets?) And b), the features they've added don't work.
The best example for this problem is how they've "improved" armies and recruitment. Previously you've recruited your troops in your cities and gathered them to army stacks. Now you have a limited amount of stacks, which gets increased by your "empire level" (so even if I have the economic capability to recruit more troops, I can't do that, because my "empire level" isn't high enough? What the flying ♥♥♥♥). Those serve under a general, who materializes the troops out of thin air apparently, as long as he is marching through friendly territory. And while the RPG elements they've added to the stacks are interesting, not being able to move single or small amounts of units independent from a general breaks your strategy big time. If you want to capture a small city, you used to be able to dispatch a small force to get the job done. Here you have to use one of your huge, bigass Armies to conquer a tiny village. Or imagine a rebellion at the heart of you empire, while all your armies are fighting thousands of miles away. Normally you would recruit some units near the troublespot and eradicate the filthy rebel scum, but now you have to remove one of your armies from the front, leaving your cities near the enemy undefended cause once again, you can't recruit units in your cities, just to march all the way back and crush the rebellion. And if you want to exchange the units beetween your stacks, you have to move your entire stack to the other just to exchange one unit. I don't have to explain why this can be infuriating at times.
Now lets get to the building and campaign map. Cities are now organized in provinces with 2 to 4 of them. This really helps to overwatch and upgrade entire regions but also comes with some problems. Those are the culture spread (Syracuse for instance has a cultural impact on southern Italy because they're in a province together) that creates public discontent, and the public discontent after capturing a city in a province. For instance the people of rome get angry at you when you take a city in northern italy, because they're in the same province. Why does this happen? Why does local discontent have to have an impact on your already captured and secured cities and lead them to rebel? What the ♥♥♥♥ CA.
I could ramble on about the hundreds of minor issues and odd design decisions of Rome 2, like the train wreck politic system, the faceless randomly generated Generals that are just weak compared to the family tree system of Medieval 2 for instance, which created interesting characters that you really cared about. I could talk about how you can't even see the fight animations because battles are huge moshpits with no order or discipline whatsoever (although CA managed to patch the worst parts of these) or how it just fails to get you immersed in the time period. Or that the repeated one-line general "speeches" are a shameful display compared to the long, randomly created ones of the previous games.
But what breaks the game at the end of the day is the bare bones A.I. Total War is a single player game, period. And when you ♥♥♥♥ up the A.I. in a game that is designed for daylong sessions in front of your computer, you're doing something wrong. The A.I. was never CAs strenght, I admit that, but compared to the budget RTW2 had, the A.I. was never this incompetent. And while they fixed the worst insults displayed in the real time battles, it still seems you're playing against a brain dead infant on the campaign map. Giant enemy forces ignoring defenseless cities (garrisons are a joke), the A.I. randomly trying to form contracts with you even if they are completely useless, almost never declaring war on you (except you're playing the Seleucids, where its you against every eastern faction) and army stacks made half out of peasant slingers. And when you want to auto resolve those battles because 2000 slingers aren't worth your time, guess what. the auto resolve system is completely ♥♥♥♥ed, so you either lose or get unacceptable losses with your heavily armored legionaries accompanied by elite cavalry.
But you've gotta give it to Creative Assembly. They know they've ♥♥♥♥ed up and they've patched big times. And while everything I've mentioned is still an issue (bad design decisions can't get patched), this is pure gold compared to the release state of Rome 2. With the release of the emperor edition, this game became something worth your money.
But at the end of the day, looking at all the flaws this game has, you're better off with Medieval 2 or Rome 1.
Speaking of money, my biggest concern about Creative Assembly isn't Rome Total War 2 anymore, its their DLC ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥. We're getting stoned to death by unit packs, faction DLC and additional mini campaigns, which are all right to ask money for, but please dont display a ♥♥♥♥ing button in the main menu that tells me to pay 15 ♥♥♥♥ING BUCKS for three uninteresting factions from the black sea. Again, the units are all reskins of the same 10 or so unit types, so why even bother when there are mods that make ALL FACTIONS AVAILABLE. I understand you don't have to buy these DLCs, but they lack quality and are way way overpriced. If they released a single, huge faction pack with 40 or 50 completely new units for 30 bugs, I would buy it. But the bombardment with lazy ♥♥♥ pay 15-bucks-for-three-more-dull-factions "expansions" is unacceptable and infuriating.